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Green Building Innovations Drive Evolution of Building Codes

New web resource offers information on successful permitting of innovations

The Northwest EcoBuilding Guild, in partnership with Thurston County, the City of Olympia, WA and the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, today announced the launch of the Code Innovations Database, a new web resource “making it easier to build green.”
Apr 22, 2014

The Northwest EcoBuilding Guild, in partnership with Thurston County, the City of Olympia, WA and the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, today announced the launch of the Code Innovations Database, a new web resource “making it easier to build green.”  With the steady advance of designs and technology to reduce the environmental impact of buildings, the building codes are evolving to accommodate changes driven by this innovation. The Database is designed to help facilitate this process by promoting collaboration and information sharing, while offering detailed information about successfully permitted green and high-performance building innovations and evolving green codes.

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Presenting to the Rainier Chapter of the International Codes Council, Principal Investigator Chris van Daalen noted “Innovation is so important to our economy. It stimulates job creation and business competitiveness. In the case of construction, innovation also helps reduce the impact of our buildings on the Earth by introducing new energy-, resource- and money-saving designs at a faster pace than ever.  Building codes tend to lag behind innovations, but they need not be a barrier to implementing green alternatives.”

The Database highlights successful “paths to code compliance” for advanced energy efficient design and technology such as the Solar Sky Bridge at the Bullitt Center, as well as for natural building methods such as straw-clay insulation, that can be designed into almost any project. It contains case studies on residential, commercial and even public works projects. It also includes analysis of new green codes being developed and adopted by leading jurisdictions around the region and nation.

Joseph Becker of ION Ecobuilding, a general contractor in Olympia, WA said “For every successful innovation – there’s an architect or ecobuilder and a code official who did the hard work of developing the approach and getting it approved.” Becker, himself an innovator, originally suggested the idea of the database to a County stakeholder group more than 3 years ago. “The Database allows us to document their success so that others can follow in their footsteps and not have to reinvent the wheel.  Leading jurisdictions can also learn from each other by sharing information on the website.”

The Guild, along with its City and County partners, wants to educate and inspire the building industry to adopt more green practices. They hope to build a regional partnership and a national audience for the database, beginning with Pacific Northwest jurisdictions and organizations leading in sustainability. To that end, they’re offering a free display to interested Cities and Counties who want to encourage more sustainable, energy-efficient building practices. Mr. van Daalen is also available for presentations on green innovations and the building codes to code officials and code users, upon request.

For more information, please contact Chris Van Daalen, Green Codes Database Coordinator, at (360) 789-9669 or GreenCodes@ecobuilding.org.

The Code Innovations Database can be found on the web at www.CodeInnovations.org.

About the Northwest EcoBuilding Guild
Founded in 1993, the Northwest EcoBuilding Guild is a 501(c)(3) community of builders, designers, suppliers, homeowners, and partners concerned with ecological building in the Pacific Northwest, and currently has three active Chapters in Washington and Oregon. Please visit www.ecobuilding.org.

Code Innovation Database Partners
Thurston County (http://www.co.thurston.wa.us/home/index.asp), the City of Olympia, WA (http://olympiawa.gov/) and the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (http://neea.org/).

 

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